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B'nai Mitzvah Glossary

Aliyah (plural) Aliyot
- Literally: going up.
- To “have an aliyah” refers to the honor of being called up to the bimah to recite or chant the blessings over the Torah.
- To “make aliyah” or “go on aliyah” means to immigrate to Israel.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah (plural B’nai Mitzvah)
- Literally: son / daughter of the commandment.
- Ceremony marking a youngster’s reaching the age of religious majority, traditionally thirteen for boys and twelve for girls; in many congregations, thirteen for girls as well.

Bimah
- The raised platform in the synagogue from which the Torah is read and from which worship services are usually conducted.
- Reader’s stand in synagogue.

Gabbai (plural Gabbaim)
- A person who assists in the running of synagogue services and especially in helping the Torah readers. The role is undertaken on a voluntary basis.

Haftarah
- Weekly readings from the Nevi’im (Prophets)
- Readings selected by sages during the time when Torah reading was forbidden
- Nevi’im reading selected to remind one of the Torah reading

Kiddush Luncheon
- The lunch following Shabbat services.

 Kippah (plural Kippot)
- A kippah (literally: dome) is the Hebrew word for skullcap, also referred to in Yiddish as a yarmulke.

KOL
- Monthly newsletter from Beth El Synagogue

Maftir
- An additional Aliya – given to the person who has the honor of chanting the Haftarah

Minyan
- A minyan to count, number; in Judaism refers to the quorum of ten Jewish adults required for certain religious obligations

Mitzvah (plural Mitzvot)
- Command or commandment
- Principle for living, good deed
- Instructions

Nachas or Nachat
- Nachas is a Yiddish word meaning that you are happy and proud, especially of someone’s accomplishments.

Simcha
- Literally, the word “simcha” means gladness, or joy. It comes from the root word “sameyach,” which means glad or happy.

Tallit
- A shawl-like garment worn during morning services, with tzitzit (long fringes) attached to the corners as a reminder of the commandments, sometimes called a prayer shawl.

T’filah (plural) T’filot
- Prayers

T’fillin
- Two black leather boxes containing scrolls of Scripture passages -Exodus 13:1-16; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 11:13-21
- Sometimes during prayers, one box is affixed to one’s hand and arm and the other to one’s forehead as a physical effort to obey the passage in Deuteronomy 6:8
- Also called phylacteries

Yahrzeit
- Memorial/Commemoration of a death
- Yahrzeit, means “Time (of) Year” in Yiddish
- Observed on the yearly anniversary of the death

Fri, October 22 2021 16 Cheshvan 5782